Dog Sitter

Dog Sitters offer a safe space for Service Dogs in Training while their primary Puppy Raisers are unavailable.

NEADS Dog Sitters temporarily take in puppies when their regular Full-Time or Weekend Puppy Raisers:

  • Take a vacation.
  • Recover from surgery.
  • Attend an event that is not appropriate for a Service Dog in Training.
  • Take a break when life requires more attention.
  • Handle unexpected emergencies.

Dog Sitter Guidelines

Dog Sitters can be:

  • A former Puppy Raiser who can no longer commit to the time required to be a primary Puppy Raiser but is still interested in helping NEADS.
  • Individuals interested in assisting NEADS but unable to commit to Puppy Raising regularly.
  • Teens who are 16 years old or older that would like to add a community service to their college applications.
  • Socially conscious individuals who would like to assist the community.

Time Commitments:

Dog Sitters for Weekend Puppy Raisers pick up their assigned Service Dog in Training from their nearest Prison PUP Program facility or the NEADS Campus. Service Dogs in Training are picked up Friday afternoons and dropped off Sunday afternoons.

  • Some holiday placements may require for an earlier pick-up and drop off.
  • Dog Sitters for Weekend Puppy Raisers must be available at least one weekend a month.

Dog Sitters for Full-Time Puppy Raisers coordinate with NEADS Raiser Operations and Hawkins Canine Center staff to determine pick-up and drop off days/times. Service Dogs in Training in the Full-Time Puppy Raising Program can be picked up at the NEADS Campus, transported by a NEADS staff member, or a mutually beneficial meeting place can be chosen for both the Raiser and Sitter.

  • Dog Sitters for Full-Time Puppy Raisers must be available a minimum of two days each month.
  • The maximum amount of time a Service Dog in Training will remain with a Temporary Puppy Raiser Sitter will be two weeks.

Responsibilities of a Dog Raiser Instructor:

  • Offer a clean, safe space for a Service Dog in Training to feel secure and loved while not with their primary Puppy Raiser.
  • Focus on reinforcing fundamental behaviors and basic obedience commands that are appropriate to the learning level of the Service Dog in Training as directed by a member of the Raiser Operations team.
  • Review all NEADS communications and updates including, but not limited to the Canine Chronicle, Newsletters, and NEADS emails to ensure that you are up to date.
  • Temporary Puppy Raiser Sitters do not teach new obedience commands and must adhere to all NEADS training and methods.
  • Temporary Puppy Raiser Sitters that do not respond to two consecutive sitter pleas from the Raiser Operations team will be removed from the Temporary Puppy Raiser Sitter list and may need to repeat the steps to becoming a new Sitter again.

Becoming a Dog Sitter:

  • Complete a Dog Sitter application.
  • Attend an orientation and complete all relevant waivers.
  • Schedule a virtual house visit with a Puppy Raiser Instructor and make any puppy-proofing adjustments suggested by the Instructor.
  • Read all materials provided by NEADS including the Pre-Puppy Information and Preparation Booklet, the Puppy Raiser Sitter Manual, and Medical Manual.
  • Attend a pre-puppy class led by a Puppy Raiser Instructor.
  • View monthly refresher classes available to you on the Temporary Raiser Sitter Portal.

Dog Sitters allow primary Raisers to take much needed and deserved breaks while also assisting in the NEADS mission to change lives.